Last week, the ladies of THE VIEW were discussing compliments and how very hard it is to graciously accept them. I know that I am guilty of the compliment deflection move all the time. And while I try to affirm and compliment my friends (and even complete strangers) if they are wearing a flattering color or some shoes I covet or when their hair is perfectly coiffed – turn the attention to me and I’ll make a joke or other deprecating remark about whatever is being complimented.
And I don’t mean to do it – it just happens. One of the guys working in our copy center last week complimented me by saying, “You look really nice today” and my immediate response was, “Oh please, I look like a slob today.” (It was casual Friday and I was in one of my “Argh, I’m so fat” moods, so how could he possibly be saying that I looked nice…but I digress). He restated his opinion and instead of just graciously saying “Thanks” and moving on, I am sure my continued denial of his compliment made him wish he’d never opened his mouth to me. (Sorry, Rodney)
Where does this come from? Why is it difficult to just be gracious, say Thanks, and move on? The ladies from THE VIEW never came up with a definitive answer either. Maybe it comes from our mothers telling us that a “lady is modest and doesn’t flaunt herself”. Maybe it stems from deep rooted, unresolved self image issues. And maybe it’s just a lack of trust in the motives of the person making the complimentary statement.
Of all the ladies on THE VIEW, only Whoopi Goldberg was comfortable with accepting compliments. She made the point that most people subscribe to the theory, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” – so her outlook is, if someone thinks enough of you, your outfit, your hairdo to say something, they thought about it and meant it when they said it, so just accept it. Good point, but personally, a hard thing to do.
I’m going to try to do better though. I am going to strive to just say “Thank you” the next time someone is complimentary…even if in my head I am screaming, “Are you kidding me?!”
PS: By the way, you look marvelous!